Donald Trump’s Friendless America

Donald Trump after a service Friday morning at St. Joseph Episcopal Church, where Rev. Robert Jeffress spoke. CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

By

COMMENT

Donald J. Trump began his first day as president listening to a favorite Baptist preacher, Robert Jeffress, who has suggested that the Catholic Church was led astray by Satan, that Mormonism and Islam both “came from the pit of hell,” that gay people lead a “miserable” and “filthy” lifestyle, that Mr. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, was “paving the way” for the Antichrist — and that God Himself made Mr. Trump president.

It set the tone for a day in which any remaining hopes for reunifying the nation were systematically quashed by this relentless narcissist and the party he commands. A day in which our new vice president, Mike Pence, refused to even shake the hand of the defeated presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump’s address was little more than a litany of right-wing and alt-right complaints and conspiracy theories from the past eighty years. Like many of the commentators, who seemed shellshocked by the address, searching desperately for any hint of unity and reconciliation, Mr. Trump himself invoked what is generally considered the gold standard of recent American inaugurals.

“Let the word go forth,” President Kennedy famously pledged, that America “would pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend,” in the cause of freedom around the world, while calling on us to “ask not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America first,” President Trump promised.

For Mr. Trump, there are no real American friends in the world, just countries that steal our jobs and our money, while letting us dangerously deplete our military and leave our borders undefended. (He did, ominously, promise us “new” alliances.) Here at home, we are no longer the active and able citizens of a proud democracy at its zenith, but a collection of miserable victims, beleaguered by an “American carnage” of poverty, welfare, “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation,” crime, drug addiction and the appeasers of those evil foreigners.

It feels astounding that the Kennedy and the Trump speeches could have been delivered in the same country. The commentators just kept talking about how at least this was “a peaceful transfer of power.” How low our expectations have become.

Kevin Baker is a novelist and essayist and the author, most recently, of “America the Ingenious.”

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/presidential-inauguration-2017

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About Uy Do

Banking System Analyst, former NTT data Global Marketing Dept Senior Analyst, Banking System Risk Specialist, HR Specialist
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